Three years since his release from the company, Hulk Hogan returned to WWE programming on Friday as the host of Crown Jewel in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Hogan cut a quick promo in the middle of the ring hyping up the show before Rey Mysterio and Randy Orton made their entrances for the opening match:
After a seven-year hiatus from WWE, Hogan returned as an ambassador in 2014. His run lasted just over a year, though, before a tape was released featuring Hogan going on a racist rant.
That led to WWE releasing Hogan and making the following statement: "WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide."
At the time of his release, Hogan was making guest appearances for WWE and serving as a host on Tough Enough.
On July 15, WWE announced that Hogan had been reinstated as a member of the Hall of Fame:
"After a three-year suspension, Hulk Hogan has been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. This second chance follows Hogan's numerous public apologies and volunteering to work with young people, where he is helping them learn from his mistake. These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame."
Following the announcement, Hogan spoke to WWE Superstars backstage at Extreme Rules and tweeted about his experience:
Hogan hasn't been involved much with wrestling since his release, but he did make headlines by winning a lawsuit against Gawker over the release of his sex tape which included his racist comments.
In November 2016, Hogan and Gawker reached a settlement in which it was agreed that Gawker would pay him $31 million.
The 65-year-old Hogan is perhaps the biggest star in the history of professional wrestling, and he is arguably chiefly responsible for WWE becoming a mainstream, global phenomenon along with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
Hogan main-evented WrestleMania in eight of its first nine years of existence, and he is a six-time world champion in WWE.
Since his first WWE departure in 1994 to sign with WCW, The Immortal One has had numerous stints with the company that helped launch him to new heights.
While wrestling is likely out of the question for Hogan given his age and injury history, he could still be an asset for WWE now that he is back in the fold.
Solely from a merchandising perspective, Hogan can generate big money from WWE because of his popularity among old-school fans and ability to continue appealing to a younger generation.
He can also be utilized in a number of different ways as a representative for WWE, although that may be a challenge following the controversy he has been involved with in recent years.
Regardless of what WWE does with Hogan, his name recognition could be beneficial to the company provided he manages to go down a more positive path.
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